More Than 63,000 Boats Damaged or Destroyed by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

hurricane boat damage

Boat US reports on thousands of recreational boats badly damaged or completely destroyed by 2017 Hurricane Harvey and Irma in the U.S. [VIDEO with PHOTOS]

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The hurricane season in the U.S. and Caribbean islands was particularly bad for both residents and boaters during the 2017 hurricane season. While some areas got “lucky” (like parts of Florida), others got hit bad – particularly in the Florida Keys, Houston and, of course, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

As people in these areas try to pick up the pieces of their lives, one of those big pieces is obviously the boats that they own and cherish.

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Hurricane Boat Damage

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group for recreational boaters, estimates that more than 63,000 recreational boats were damaged or destroyed as a result of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. The combined dollar damage estimate is $655 million – and that’s just for boats.

How does the damage from Harvey and Irma compare to other hurricanes? The damage from Harvey and Irma is strikingly close to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which remains the single-largest industry loss with more than 65,000 boats damaged and more than $650 million in estimated losses.

Of the two major storms that hit the continental U.S. during the 2017 storm season, Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 50,000 vessels with approximately $500 million in recreational boat damage. About 13,500 boats were damaged or lost costing $155 million in boat damage as the result of Hurricane Harvey.

[Note: Boat U.S. did not include damage caused by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico in their report.]

The BoatUS Catastrophe Team recently completed two months of field operations arranging for repairs, salvage or wreck removals for BoatUS Marine Insurance program members and GEICO Marine Insurance customers.

“These two storms were as different as night and day,” said BoatUS Marine Insurance Program Vice President of Claims Rick Wilson. “The boats that were hit the hardest by Harvey were located on a relatively small slice of Texas coast, while we saw damage to recreational vessels from Irma in every corner of Florida.”

Wilson with the BoatUS claims team notes that while Hurricane Irma’s losses are significant, it could have been much worse.

“Irma ultimately traveled up Florida’s West Coast and not the East, which was initially forecast. And while locations in the right front quadrant of the storm such as Big Pine Key and Marathon were hit hard with a Category 4 storm, Irma lost strength as it approached the mainland and swept up Florida. As the storm passed east of Tampa Bay, waters receded and came back gradually, also lessening surge damage.”

See Hurricane Boat Damage

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, boaters and marinas are facing massive amounts of devastation to their boats. This video shows some of the damage in the South Florida and Florida Keys region. The BoatUS Catastrophe Team has worked tirelessly to find and take care of our policyholders’ boats.

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Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids Active in the boating industry, Diane has also led the marketing for multiple recreational boating businesses and startups.
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